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The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is inviting vendors to submit quotes for the construction of gates at certain sections of the Bog Walk Gorge in St. Catherine to prevent persons entering the area during heavy rainfall.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank today (Sept. 2), Deputy Director General of ODPEM, Richard Thompson, said the gates are being put up as many motorists disregard warnings to keep out of the gorge during heavy rains.
“You’ll get a warning that the gorge is at X level and it will be flooded soon, so don’t drive through Bog Walk Gorge, but people still do that and they get trapped in the gorge,” he lamented.
Mr. Thompson stated that under the present system, the police usually go to the entry points of the gorge to warn motorists. However, resource constraints have led to the area being unmonitored during certain periods. “So, they (police) will go initially and they will probably do intermittent checks, but then you will find some people getting through,” he said. “But if it is physically closed, no one should go through,” he reasoned.
Mr. Thompson informed that once the gates are erected, police personnel will ensure the gorge is empty before the gates are closed. He also said that there will be signs along the roadway leading to the gorge indicating that it is unsafe to continue.
He said ODPEM would also like to institute text messaging as a warning tool as well as sirens. He noted however that the gates are the most critical element of the plan at the moment.
“At present, we have written the terms of reference and it’s on the website where there is a request for quotes,” he informed.
He said that in keeping with Government procedure, the quotes will go through the procurement process before a contract is awarded for the work.

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